Narcissistic abuse, especially in an isolated environment with someone you’re frequently around, makes your whole world go dark.
You think your possibilities are more limited.
You learn to live in a constant state of fear, and for that time it’s all you know.
Even after you finally leave the narcissist, this darkness doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Especially at first. And especially without guidance for healing, without someone in your life who can recognize what you’re going thru, that dark tunnel that has become your view of the world, stays that way for a long time.
After cutting contact with my narcissistic mother multiple times in my late teens and early 20s, the same symptoms happened every time: to always go into isolation and to limit myself and basically become a shade of myself, consumed by just total fear.
When there was nothing to be afraid of, my brain would come up with something. Your own mind drives you crazy after narcissistic abuse!
Fear that you’re not good enough, fear regarding the state of your own sanity, fear of what people think of you, fear of not being capable of taking care of yourself or do the things you need to do.
You’re used to having this abuser throwing you insults and questioning you and potentially threatening you in a very unsettling way, this keeping you in a hyperadrenalized, hypervigilant state of being… and now that’s all you know how to be, so your mind internalizes the abuser and the darkness continues.
I know narcissistic abuse syndrome because I’ve been through it. And coming out of a narcissistically abusive relationship multiple times, I really watched very closely by the last time, to figure out how they do it, what they do, and then reverse engineer how to undo what’s been done to my mind.
If your case is like mine, having narcissistic parents — certain stages of development were held back from you.
Certain realizations about yourself or about the world that would make you more independent and more capable of functioning in this world — all things that are risks to the narcissistic parent who’s using their child for narcissistic supply.
You also end up having to develop your own sense of will for yourself — because you never got to fully access that feeling. Your will for your life always had to be compromised and shared with your narcissistic parent(s).
You have to realize that if you don’t heal your self esteem, root for yourself and become your own best friend, you won’t accomplish what you want to do. If you were raised by a narcissistic parent or parents, then you weren’t guided through the stages of achieving emotional independence and financial independence because they want you to remain attached to them at the most primal levels possible…survival and emotional needs.
They want you to stay on the hamster wheel of seeking approval but never quite getting it.
They want you to stay financially tied or dependent on their home or something that ties your basic needs to them, because this is a safeguard to ensure you stay– so they can keep you as narcissistic supply.
Even if you’re not in contact with your narcissistic parents, you still have damage done to your sense of self and you lack certain upgrades in your level of maturity, often in making your own decisions, emotional maturity and control, and financial maturity. Because your relationship to all these things was skewed, it was messed with.
Most of the clients I’ve been working with lately have been people recovering from narcissistic abuse. The more I help people with this issue, the more I realize why therapists rarely work for narcissistic abuse victims, psychologists rarely work, counselors rarely work; not because you’re too crazy… but because they haven’t been through the psychological reprogramming that happens in narcissistic abuse; and they don’t realize the extent that it changes you and what you believe about yourself and what you believe to be true about your reality.
It’s called: you were put into a state of fear, and this put your brain in a place of heightened suggestibility — where you could be programmed to think and behave in different ways.
It’s absolutely terrible — narcissistic abuse is a dark, scary thing but it’s a reality. Although psychiatrists and psychologists know very well about narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic abuse isn’t even an official psychological term. I’ve found from my experience that your typical therapist, and definitely your typical counselor, can’t pick up on the signs of narcissistic abuse in a victim, and probably don’t know about the narcissist-empath dynamic unless they’ve been through it themselves.
What someone recovering from narcissistic abuse really needs is someone who’s a few steps ahead of them in their own recovery.
They can recognize better than anyone what’s going on. They’ve been through it, they had to uncover it for themselves, because in most cases there was no therapist or counselor who could uncover that truth for them. But for someone who’s been through it, it’s like — I know your mindset.
I used to think like that. Here’s how I woke up out of it… Here’s what I started saying to myself. Here’s how I started setting boundaries. Here’s how I figured out how to stop the anxiety and lift the dark cloud at least a little, caused by narcissistic abuse. The last thing you need is someone who’s going to call you crazy, because you’re already questioning and doubting yourself too much.
You need someone who recognizes the symptoms of being manipulated by someone who’s making you doubt your reality. Who can relate, and who’ll tell you you’re not crazy. They know first-hand the same brainwashing you went through.
Part of what affects the recovery process is that narcissistic abuse isn’t really widely recognized… certainly, my high school counselor didn’t recognize it when I approached him about the problems I was having with my mom controlling me and scaring the living daylights out of me.
This retraumatizes you and can plunge you straight back into the old toxic programming because you end up feeling invalidated and feeling like maybe you really are crazy and the narcissist was right all along… And this is what draws out the healing process, is when you still aren’t clear on what you’re going through and which way is the direction for healing.
Because, by the way: you CAN heal from this 100%.
Someone rewired you, but you can also rewire yourself. It may be a little painful, but there are ways to make the process better and faster, from my experience.
Narcissistic abuse recovery is all about reprogramming the subconscious and accessing higher vibration emotional states…it’s about being reminded of possibilities outside your programming and establishing a new baseline for what’s normal to you.
Because, after a relationship with someone who is truly mentally ill, your sense of what’s normal is skewed because crazy was normal, especially in a close relationship in an isolated environment.
What you need to do… and what survivors of narcissistic abuse have done to turn their life around is to take control of their own self image. Whereas narcissists feed off fueling their self image, empaths hardly have any self image of their own to speak of.
Most empaths experienced emotional neglect in childhood, and therefore did not develop a healthy emotional body. Their parents may have a personality disorder — narcissistic, borderline, or histrionic, for example.
They may not have had the capacity to oversee their child’s emotional experiences, let an empathic child’s. This child feels like they’re never truly seen. Their parents only ever interacted with the surface-level aspect of them and never with their truth.
Many survivors of narcissistic abuse are dealing with different combinations of these issues: